The Court of Appeal in Nairobi has issued a suspension of the initial decision by the High Court to charge Uganda-based Sarrai Group Limited with contempt of court. This decision follows the company’s involvement in the operations at Mumias Sugar Company (MSC).
Sarbjit Singh Rai, Rakesh Kumar, and Stephen Kihumba were cited for contempt of court. However, in a ruling dated October 13, 2023, the appellate court found that the company had not been properly served with the orders that prohibited their operations at Mumias Company.
The Court of Appeal also criticized the High Court’s decision, pointing out the withdrawal of certain judges from the case without clear justifications. In light of these circumstances, the Notice of Motion dated May 10, 2023, has been granted, resulting in a stay of execution of the High Court’s ruling and order dated April 27, 2023. Furthermore, there is a stay of further proceedings pending the hearing and determination of the applicant’s appeal.
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Previously, the High Court had ordered Sarrai Group to pay a fine of Ksh100,000, and Sarbit Singh Rai, Rakesh Bvats, and Stephen Kihumba were directed to appear before the court on May 18, 2023, to potentially face jail sentences for contempt.
The High Court had also issued orders to prevent any dismantling, stripping, removal, transfer, or disposal of movable or immovable assets belonging to Mumias. Additionally, the return of all moveable assets, machinery, or equipment that had been removed from the premises of Mumias was mandated.
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Sarrai Group, along with its agents, employees, servants, subsidiaries, or affiliates, were instructed to cease all activities within the premises of Mumias Sugar Company, including the operation of machinery, dismantling, vandalizing machinery, and removing assets. The court further directed the Mumias Police Station to facilitate the safe return of all MSC assets.